Learning Latvian and Getting to know Latgale Region in the Summer School


July 12-21, University of Daugavpils hosted an international summer school “Discover Latvia through Latgale Region” where 13 students and academic staff from the USA, Belgium, Czech Republic, South Korea, Georgia, Croatia, Peru, Turkey, and Uzbekistan studied Latvian language and got acquainted with Latvia and Latgale region.

The schedule of the participants of the summer school was dynamic and filled with intensive Latvian language lessons, as well as the studies of culture, history, and entrepreneurship in the Latgale region. The participants got acquainted with the history of the city of Daugavpils, visited Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, Latgale Arts and Crafts Centre in Līvāni, Aglona Bread Museum including bread-making master class, poet Rainis' home in Berķenele, as well as other significant places in Latgale region. Participants also got an insight into Latgale's local business activities by visiting the farm “Kalni” Wine cellar, farm “Kurmīši”, and farm “Klajumi”.

The summer school offered some of its participants an additional challenge - being a part of the television program “Press Club” where regional media was telling of foreigners' interest in Latgale region, learning more about their motivation, vision and desire to learn about the culture, history and Latvian language. Many participants acknowledged that their motivation to learn the Latvian language and culture is related to their interest in intercultural communication. Cindy Supanta from Peru tells: “It is something unique and unusual. I come from an exotic country and this Latvian peace, greenery all around, rivers and lakes - it makes this place exotic to me. I was able to sing Latvian songs - it is a fantastic and beautiful meditation. Latvians truly are a singing nation!” Scott Brickman, on the other hand, chose to study at the summer school of the University of Daugavpils as he had discovered in 2016 that his ancestors came from Latvia. He has been to Latvia several times, however, this was his first visit to Latgale. He is captivated by the work ethics and open-mindedness of the Latvian people, but most of all - by the cold soup.

The participants of the summer school highly appreciated the opportunity to go on excursions and enjoy the nature of Latvia in addition to gaining the basic knowledge of Latvian language. The lecture topics and study content were related to practical experience and current economic issues. All knowledge gained is provided interactively using immersion and CLIL methodology (Content and Language Integrated Learning). The participants noted that it was important to hear, see and feel the language, and balanced summer school program provided for it. At the end of the training, participants received certificates of for the Latvian language and culture program for 60 hours or 6 ECTS certifying the Latvian language proficiency level A1.

Summer School of Regional Studies "Discover Latvia via Latgale Region!” was organized to provide the project participants with the opportunity to learn Latvian and regional studies in Latvia, to promote the acquaintance of foreign students with the Latvian state and society, to raise awareness of Latvian regions and cultural space, and to encourage learners to use Latvian.

The State Education Development Agency (SEDA) approved seven international summer schools this year receiving scholarships this year. Each summer school was awarded 10 scholarships aimed at inviting foreign students and academic staff. Summer schools promote the Latvian language, culture, history and education, as well as raise the profile of Latvia abroad and facilitate cooperation between Latvia and foreign countries.

Photo: University of Daugavpils